Hello friends. As I’ve said before, tailors aren’t magicians. Nor are we those carnival sideshow guys with the mirrors that stretch your body out. But there are certain things you can do, if you’re a shorter man, to look taller. These are some of my top tips.
[ Pictured: The 5'8" Humphrey Bogart, in Casablanca (Warner Bros.), employs a shorter suit jacket and tapered, high-waisted, no-break trousers to appear taller. ]
Number one, wear your trousers a little higher on the waist. Creating the illusion of longer legs is key to appearing taller. Just look at photographer Justin De Villeneuve’s images of the diminutive Twiggy, where by shooting from a prone position lying on the floor of his studio, he managed to make the fun-size sixties supermodel look like a tall, leggy Amazon — a very clever play with perspective. Now of course, you can’t ask everyone to lie on the ground, but trousers with a waistband sitting around your belly button will help create the same effect, extending your silhouette beautifully.
Keep the trousers relatively slim and tapered with just a modest break. Never, ever allow them to be hemmed too long — bunches of excess cloth overflowing your shoes will only serve to make you look shorter, and give you the appearance of a little boy wearing his big bro’s hand-me-down pants.
A vertically striped cloth for your suit is a good idea, but be careful that the stripes are quite closely spaced. If they’re too far apart, that will draw the viewer’s eye outward. Remember, you want to look longer, not wider.
Creating a long up-and-down line, wearing a suit of one solid colour head to toe can help, but if you go for a pattern, make it smaller, like a fine check. Always button your jacket, the V-shaped opening will give a sense of a long, lean torso. (A v-neck sweater can do much the same. Turtlenecks are good, too.)
To keep your legs looking their longest, have your jacket’s skirt cut on the shorter side — the supposed ‘rule’ that a jacket skirt should end where your thumb knuckle sits with arms resting at your side isn’t hard and fast, by any means. It’s all about finding the most flattering proportions, which a good tailor will be able to help you with. Nothing will make you look smaller than an ill-fitting, poorly proportioned suit.
[ Pictured: Joe Pesci plays a pint-sized psychopath in Goodfellas (UIP). Funny how? ]
Sporting a nice high-crowned hat (think Al Capone, not Peaky Blinders) could effectively add much-needed inches. But avoid the temptation to give yourself a boost with chunky thick-soled shoes — you’ll probably just end up looking like a clown. A short one.
Oh and finally? No matter your height, stand tall, gentlemen! Good posture not only literally makes you taller, it increases your stature.
Until next week,
PS: We’re off to Pitti Uomo in Florence next week, scouting for outstanding artisanal brands and craftsmen to collaborate with. If you have any suggestions on potential partners or particular products you’d like to see us stock in future, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Grazie mille, ragazzi! Ciao.